#TBT Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals … and a Postcard Show!

Ionia Michigan Insane Asylum

Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals, photo by Don (the UpNorth Memories Guy) Harrison

Don wanted me to be sure to let everyone know about this weekend’s annual Traverse City Antique Postcard & Rare Paper Show on August 16 from 10 AM – 4 PM at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center. It’s a great chance to view some incredible pics of Michigan’s history … and from all over!

Speaking of history, Asylum Projects page on the Ionia State Hospital says:

The building of the Ionia State Hospital was authorized in 1883 and was opened under the name of the Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals in 1885. It was found that this name was objectionable as not all of the patients in the hospital were criminals, so the name was changed by legislative action to Ionia State Hospital. The patients committed to this hospital were insane felons, criminal sexual psychopaths, insane convicts from other prisons, patients transferred from other state institutions that had developed dangerous or homicidal tendencies and persons charged with a crime but acquitted on the grounds of insanity. Initially the hospital patients were housed at the site of the Michigan Reformatory.

The hospital was called the North Branch and the farm located on Riverside Drive was called the South Branch. When a large fire broke out at the hospital, all of the rooms were needed to house prisoners, so all of the hospital patients were sent to the South Branch farm. Since that time, the hospital has been located on the grounds of the Riverside Correctional Facility. The hospital was used to treat the mentally ill as well as the criminally insane until 1972, when civilians were removed from the hospital. In 1977, the Legislature transferred the operation to the Department of Corrections when it began operation as a correctional facility. The facility was closed with the reopening of the Michigan Reformatory.

Click through for some pics including a couple of cool panoramas!

View the photo background big and see more from UpNorth Memories on Flickr!

One thought on “#TBT Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals … and a Postcard Show!

  1. What a wonderful place to do time just unforgettable!!! The memories are so vivid and amazing I’d love to return but I just can’t find the time to waste, I got a memory to bring home, it was a tattoo of Lynyard Skynyard made of Bible ash&spit, I look at it to this day, reminding me of where I went and the BIGGEST lesson taught, Funny though, I needed a 2nd tour, so by the time my dumb ass got out this time, No further tours were needed. Now I can just look at the tattoo!


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